Thursday, November 20, 2014

BWW in the Smokies

Vaca in the Smokies, can't wait to get there.  First I20, then I59, with a short ride on I24, and I75 to finally I40.  I felt like I was touring the country on top of Lookout mountain on this trip.  Traveled Mississippi, then Alabama, before we hit a slice of Georgia before entering Tennessee!  Those Georgia folks must feel like they're cut off from the rest of the State sitting up in this northwest corner  all boxed in.

Once you leave the interstate, you are welcomed by the sights of the Smokies!  Saw the biggest snow flakes I'd ever seen!  Of course, they were mounted on all of the light poles.  As we made our way, the path was glowing from all the other decorative lighting that had already been put out to welcome the tourists to the winter season in the Smokies!

All checked in to our condo for the remainder of the week, it was getting late, and our dining choices were a bit limited.   All voted for a wing stop a BWW just up the road.

As we entered, we discovered that the nightly round of trivia had just concluded.  At this late hour, we had our choice of seating.  We had the waitress's full attention since there was only one other group.

She began to take our drink order, and the fun began!  Son#1 wanted a beer, but took forever to decide.  Seems the bar was loaded with craft beer on tap.  He made his selection, but was curious about some of the others. After some young people small talk about music, bands, and tattoos, The waitress suggested that he try a sample.  OK!  She brought a small tasting glass, half full of beer and half full of head.  After a sip, she asked if he wanted to sample another?  This got me to thinking...

Kiddingly, I asked if a person could have a sample of every craft beer that she had on tap. She wrinkled her forehead a bit, looked around the restaurant a bit, then said "today is your lucky day!". Let the tasting begin!  I had one, the spousal unit and girly friend took a sip or two out of several, and son#1 was in beer heaven.  Most of these craft beers are a bit too much for me so I stuck with my unsweet tea.

We got to the menu, and it was total confusion.  There were way too many sauces to choose from.  With my stomach these days, I had to stick with just medium and honey BBQ.  The confusing thing, was the units were in " snack, small, medium, and large".  We told the waitress, obviously, it had been a while since we had been in BWW.  What happened to ordering in units of twelve?  She said it is now in increments of 5.  Snack 5, small 10, medium 15, large 20.  Must be some of that new fangled common core math!

We enjoyed our meal, the beer sampling was fantastic, and the waitress was all smiles from the big tip.  As we left, she gave us a shout out "I'm here tomorrow night too!". Just might take her up on it!

Trucker's Paradise on the way to the Smokies!

The vaca to the Smokey Mountains starts out with an eight hour car ride.  Its practically all interstate, so there isn't much to entertain yourself along the way, except the stops in between.

Made it past Meridian and into Alabama at the second exit, to the Love Truck Center, this the first of several gravity breaks.  It was a truck stop that was humming with this activity, tire shop was taking care of some blow outs, the truck wash was blasting the crud away, the sleeper lot was full of truckers snoring the morning away.  The pumps were busy topping off the outgoing rigs, and as I got out of the car, I got to wondering what awaited us inside?

When you entered the station you were welcomed by a little old crusty women yelling "welcome to Love's!". The rest room was buzzing with truckers washing hands and faces, getting ready to continue their trek.  For some, the cold water was a wakeup call for the road ahead.  For others, it was an attempt to revive those wrinkled, road weary faces that still had a few more miles to travel.

As I paid for my diet dew and snicker, the little old lady continued to yell " welcome to Love's!". You could tell from a close look at her that she had a few stories in her.  She was or had been a heavy smoker in her day.  I noticed a lot of small tattoos up both her arms, wondering what stories they could tell.  She yelled "welcome to Love's" again as more customers came and went.  I couldn't resist.  I had to ask.  "Is this where the Love Train ends or begins?". She burst into laughter, and said " oh thank you sweetie!  The stories I could tell you!". "Welcome to Love's!". With that we were on our way!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Holiday Traditions of Years Past

As the holiday season comes upon us, i got to thinking about some of the things we did growing up:

1.  Annual trip for the tree.  Most people would pack up and head to the Christmas tree lot to pick out a winner.  Not us, we'd load up and head to Yazoo City for the day to pick up a tree that had already been picked out for us by an uncle, on my Dad's side, that we would only see 1-2 times a year.  This process went on for years.  Then, one year, my mom said, since you have your drivers license, why don't you take your brother and sister and go pick up a tree.  What???  Oh, wow!  Best tree picking trip ever!

With my boys, we would go down to the fairgrounds to pick our a tree.  We fell in love with the Frasier fur.  The needles were soft, and they stayed on the tree the longest.  The last one was bought, put in the tree, and nobody got excited about decorating it, so there it sat for a day or two.

 Next year we got an artificial, pre-strung with a million white lights.  We have had to pull the lights off it since most of the strings have burned out.  The spousal unit has been bringing in our adopted daughter to trim it out the last few years, till she went off to college.  Last year the boys and one girly friend trimmed it.  Wonder what this new season will bring???

2.  Timber!  Back in the old days the only type of tree we knew about was a scotch pine.  They all looked so pretty once you got them all decorated.  The tree farmers back then would play tricks on you.  The best looking trees had trunks so crooked, no ordinary tree stand could hold them!  Had one tree that fell over three times before we secured it to the wall.

3.  When the boys were little, I would bake gingerbread men and add icing to make them look just right.  Their classes at school were rather large, so it became quite a production.  As they got older, they both would give me that look, "no, Dad, not again, I'm not going to be seen carrying gingerbread men into school.  One day, those gingerbread men will arise again, get ready grand kids!

4.  We started this Santa collection as a young married couple.  Over the years the collection grew and grew.  Last year they didn't make it out of the box.  OK boys, something else for you to take over.

5.  Gail Pittman used to make gift buying real easy.  She had a Christmas pattern where the center of the plate would have a different theme.  She would also make a tree ornament with the same design.  She also started a tree ornament series designed around the " twelve days of Christmas".  We have enough Gail Pittman ornaments to cover a tree!  All good things come and go,  Gail's ornament factory is no more....

6.  Luminaries.  My parent's home town of Inverness has an annual tradition of putting out luminaries on Christmas Eve.  You fold down the edges of paper bags, add sand in the bottom, then add a lit candle.  The effect is a beautiful glow along the bayou.  If you're ever in the area, give it a drive by.

We did this in our neighborhood when the boys were small.  Now everybody is too busy.

7.  Turkey frying.  My Dad was a big fan of Justin Wilson, an outdoor cook that could do amazing things with a stove and a deep fryer.  He started frying whole turkeys before it became popular.  My Dad took up the trade and was frying a dozen birds before he scaled his cooking back.  I did it for a few years, then began smoking them covered in Tony C's!  Best bird ever!

8.  Desserts.  My Dad is big on ambrosia.  Oranges, coconut, and pineapple.  Put a scoop or two of this on a slice of coconut cake, OMG!  Occasionally I make some, but nobody enjoys it like I do.

9.  My grandmother Weems was the best cook I ever met.  She worked in the school cafeteria and would have me special treats when I made my way through.  Her homemade rolls were the best.  My sister has taken over the task of making these for the holidays.  Nothing like a slice of honey baked  ham on a homemade roll!

10.  Each Christmas Eve, we would attend the candlelight service at our church.

The first year, as a young married couple, we decided to go our to dinner afterwards.  Jackson is a big town, right?  As we made our way to restaurant row, all the eateries were shutting down.  Ended up at the Krystal on State Street!

Another year, we were in our usual spot on our pew.  A friend with big hair was two rows in front of us.  Son #1 was playing with a rubber band he had with him.  He then found a pencil.  Next thing I know, a pencil goes flying through the air, and it lands in the middle of that big ole head of hair.  We laughed about that many years afterward!

Just a few of my favorite memories.  If you've gottem, share!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Nurse Dogs

Yesterday afternoon I felt it coming on.  I felt a little warm.  Then the chills and the shakes hit.  Even though I had not eaten much all day, my stomach had this bloated feeling.

Spousal unit was out of town on a work related trip.  Son #1's girly friend, a nurse, was at work doing her all nighter.  So, who was gonna step up and nurse me back to health?

Never fear, when three dogs are near!

I decided to ease my discomfort with a soaker in the spa tub.  Otis immediately took charge, and took first watch, by climbing and the back of the tub.  He stuck by me the whole time.  The warm water was very soothing to my chilled bones.  It stopped the shakes in no time.

As I was making my way out of the tub, I lot my grip.  Splash!  Water everywhere.  Within seconds, Oscar and Henry appeared, WTH daddyo???  Used a different approach, and I was out of the tub, dried off, but the aches and chills were still there.  Temperature time, 100.9.  Took some Alieve, and decided to go to bed.  It was only 8:00,  gonna be a long night....

I crawled into my spot on our king sized bed.  I was immediately joined by my three nurse dogs, Oscar, Otis, and Henry.  Throughout the night I kept searching for that comfortable spot.  My best efforts were pretty much useless.  Those three dogs had me hemmed in.  Every time I attempted to move, they either held their ground or moved right along with me.  I was in no mood for additional body heat.  I knew that there had to be a cool spot on that bed somewhere!

There is a country song "sleeping single in a double bed".  Well these three nurse dogs had me trying to sleep, single in a king sized bed!

The night passed slowly.  Eventually the sun started to show itself, and Henry was ready for their early morning ritual.  All done, I rewarded my nursing staff with a rawhide the eat for each.

Usually these three are at each other, arguing, and fighting over a toy or two.  But last night, it was all about taking care of me.  Best nursing care I've ever had!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

On this Morning After

Long day spent in Starkville with the round trip ending around 2:30.  After waking up, and reflecting on the day, I've ended up with a list of thangs that I am truly grateful for:

1.  Highway 25.  Straight shot to Starkville, with only two red lights to work through.  Was sure wanting a Diet Dew for the road home though,  the two stores close before midnight :-(

2.  Strong bladders.  Cousin Linda made the trip with me and she held out until we got to Starkville!

3.  Man cub and his hot chili recipe.  His concoction kept these old bones warm!

4. My Coleman gas fired slow cooker.  That thang kept that chili warm all day, and heated up the leftovers lickity split!

5.  Tent sidewalls.  On this cold day, that wind would cut through you like a knife.

6.  Neighbors.  The smells of ribs cooking and the DJ playing kept us entertained all day.  I'll never understand how they make babies while listening to all that crazy music!

7.  Heaters.  Those two little fellers kept me nice and toasty.  Yep, they'll be making a trip to the Egg Bowl for sure!

8.  New battery backup.  Had a full charge all day.  Beach trips in 2015, look out!

9.  North end zone addition.  Kept that wind from cutting me in two!

10.  padded chair back seats.  Good for the tush, and  keeps the neighbors in check.

11.  Made in the USA cowbells.  Them Chinese ripoffs are easy to spot, the clangers sound awful.  Poor kid next to me just put his down after a Chinese clang or two.  Not sure if he even took it home with him!

12. Thankful the punt fumble guy only had one shot at it last night.  Sorry kid, I just hope you are done for the season....

13.  Two jumbotrons.  Old habits are hard to break, eventually I'll remember to look at the new one!

14.  Man cub's disc golf buddies.  Thanks guys for sticking around for the tent take down.  Life saver for sure!

15.  Little grey wagon.  amazing what you can strap down on that sucker with a few bungie cords!

16.  Oscar and Otis.  Had quite a welcome home when I walked through the door!

17.  Daylight savings time.  Waking up and its still morning, awesome!

18.  My bed.  There is just something about climbing into your own warm bed in the wee hours of the night.

19.  The W.  It was ugly, bur we'll take it!

20.  Readers like you.  Gives me reason to continue the blog.

Til next time!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Fall Beaching

Spousal unit had a conference on the coast this past week.  A friend also invited us to finish the week with her at her condo in Gulf Shores. Definite winner!

In my haste to get all packed, loaded and roaring, I committed a fatal error.  A thing called sometimers disease kicked in.  Ole Otis Dog wanted to play, as always, and I didn't quite get everything packed, as in parts to the CPAP machine.  Boy did I pay for that oversight!

The conference was for the Mississippi Nurses Association, held at the Gulf Coast Convention Center.  As expected, most stayed at the Beau Rivage, using the special room discount.  Sucked those gals right in, into the casino and those all you can eat buffets!

The spousal unit usually stays at the beach Hampton, for its location and most importantly, for the hotel points.  As we were checking in, the hotel lobby was buzzing with activity from a large group of seniors.  Apparently they were in town for a reunion.  They were talking about this and that.  One couple said they couldn't find a certain restaurant from a visit in years past, even after trying that dang GPS that their kids had given them.  Kept saying "you have arrived at your destination", a strip club parking lot!

One thing about a crowd of seniors in a hotel lobby, it ain't like being in the library.  With all of them making conversation at the same time, you could barely hear your self think.  If they had their hearing aids in you couldn't tell it.  No conversation in this crowd was private.  Everybody talking at the top of their vocal range.  It was so loud you would thought they were a bunch of drunk college kids on spring break!  My future was unfolding before my eyes, of my!!!

While the spousal unit was busy doing that nursing thang of hers, I made a roadie trip back home for the rest of the parts to my air machine.  Yep, that sometimers disease is a bitch!  Next day, all rested up, I did my usual exploring routine.  Picked up some supplies for yet another ice chest cooler box build, then made my way to the SHED, for some Q.  Seafood is a wonderful thang, but you can only do the Bubba Gump thing for just so many meals.  BBQ is the next best thing!  Cracks me up to be there and watch and listen to first time visitors.  My recommendation, split the combo plate on your first visit, as this gives you a taste of everythang coming off their smoker!

That night we went to our favorite chain burger joint, Steak & Shake.  Yep! We got one on the coast!  Its in Harrah's.  The only down side, its a shrunk down version, and you have to go through the casino to get to it.  Then, your conversations are drowned out a bit from all the bells and chimes going off around you from the slot machines.  And then there is the smell and tastes of all that cigarette smoke.  Yeah, its a Steak & Shake, but it just ain't the same :-(.

Convention over, and we're off to Gulf Shores!  Mobile tunnel no problem this time of year.  Saw peanuts being harvested, and cabbage and other cold weather crops being planted.  And it seems like the antique stores and junk shops are multiplying!

We stopped for a late lunch at the Shrimp Basket, since that urge for shrimps had hit us again.  Got a kick out of watching our waitress come and go.  She was a little thang, but she was about in her seventh or eighth month.  Her apron wasn't in the usual spot, since that youngin in the oven was occupying most of the available space.  The apron was tied in the back, barely hanging off her butt, and the front was well protected from the elements, all tucked in up under!  She couldn't see a thang in the apron, having most of her stuff to one side or the other.  I'm still chuckling about it as I type!

Stopped for some cooking supplies before heading to the Condo.  The last grocery store, on the right, has been taken over and remodeled on the inside by a grocery store out of Louisiana called Rouses.  Highly recommend it!

Condo is 20 stories high, with the first three floors being parking garage.  I knew it was high rent district when I noticed the glassed in room surrounding the elevator doors had its own a/c unit.  The eighteenth floor has some awesome views, til you look down!

Next day we made our way to the surf and sand.  This being a short trip, I didn't bring all of my beaching toys, just two chairs, one umbrella, one umbrella anchor, two cup holders, and of course my handy dandy smartass phone, for bird watching and such.

The weather was just right for those that can't take the summer heat.  The surf was inviting, until you stuck your toes in it,  good God it was cold!  Not a whole lot of folks on the beach this time of year.  In fact, I only saw two birds and they both had feathers on them!  I recorded a video of the waves crashing on the beach and posted it on FB and captioned it as my version of "roll tide", since this was football Saturday.  It wasn't five minutes later, a gust of wind came up, and blew over somebody's umbrella (not anchored), with its Alabama Crimson Tide letter A on it.  That umbrella went tumbling down the beach, with a tramp stamped mother of four giving it chase.  Could not help it, had to let out a big belly laugh, and forgot all about taking a pic!

Made  it back to the room in time to groom up for the Dawgs and Rebs games of the day.  I had cooked a pot of red beans and rice with sausage simmering in the mix, and what a fine meal it was on this cool day.  Keeping up with my tradition from the MSU vs Texas A&M game, the drawers went on backwards.  The tradition will continue as long as the win streak continues.  Dawgs won!

The Rebellion game came on as the Dawgs were wrapping up.  They were playing their bitter rival, those corn dog smelling LSU tigers!  It seems the ladies of the condo crowd had been saving up their energies through the Dawg contest.  In no time flat they were yelling and screaming at their Quarterback, Bo Wallace.  Hate for that boy to be dating one of their daughters.....

As the game was coming to a close, I was fearful for my own life.  The spousal unit had already hit me with couch pillows in her excitement over the game.  Those tigers had gone ahead 10-7, with less than two minutes to go.  Words cannot describe the moment in the room when Bo's last pass was intercepted at the one yard line!  So much for the rest of the night......

Next day, rise and shine.  One of our companions had gone to the beach for a walk.  I noticed the light switch wasn't working in the bathroom, hummm, must a thrown a breaker.  Nope, electricity was out all along the beach.  We are on the eighteenth floor.  Guess what, no water pressured either!  In about 30 minutes the generator had the essentials working, especially the elevator and water pumps.  Interesting note, the maintenance men are not allowed on the elevators during a power outage, just in case they have to respond to an emergency, then its 20 floors of stairs for them!

Power back on, all cleaned up, it was time to pack up and head home.  Late October is a wonderful time for a beach trip.  Just don't be the lone wolf in a room watching SEC football with a bunch of women not totally familar with the rules of college football.  Painfull!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Game Day Notes - Oxford

A few notes and observations from Game Day Oxford:

1.  Short dresses and knee high boots are all the rage at the Grove.  Remember, that "cool outfit" will be even cooler when the sun goes down.

2.  Sorry honey, that cute dress you decided to wear today, all white, in mid October will have the sorority fashion police on you lickety split.  Probably why you were sitting home alone on bid day.

3.  Some of these dresses you girls are wearing to games are totally engineered wrong.  When you are walking up those stadium steps, tugging on that short hemline to keep it down, yes your boobies are gonna pop out the top!  And the reverse is true!  I almost missed a play or two because of you!

4.  Those short sleeve dry fit shirts come in handy in the heat of the afternoon.  Those night cool breezes start cutting right through you by the 4th quarter.

5.  To the lady that was so confused, she couldn't locate her seat, Section 1, row F, seat 29, is not located in section F, row 29, seat 29.  You are not seated on the home side 30 yard line.  My dear you are on the opposite end of the stadium, in the bowl, diagonal to the corner of the end zone.  How did you ever make it to Oxford????

6. Reaction of  Tennessee fans busted for carrying a case of beer:  "what do you mean I've got to pop every top and pour it all out???? . Welcome to the number one party school of the South.  You must research the rules of a foreign land before entering!

7.  Why does the guy and his pal sitting behind me have to sound so much like "Gary and Vern" the entire game?  Each of your knee jerk reactions to plays on the field that lead you to make stupid off base commentary got real old after the first quarter.  {Announcer said "2nd and 15 yards to go."  Incomplete pass.  Announcer says "3rd and 14."  Yard marker has not moved.  You say "how did they gain a yard?". Must be that common core math.....

8.  To Ole Miss Concessions:  you need to rotate cup colors.  The student section is killing yourcubeiness by bringing in last week's refillable cup!

9.  Hello Rebel fans with those igloo rolling cube coolers:  retire it soon.  It is too top heavy when loaded down with ice and beer.  Soon at you hit the curb with it, over it goes, spilling the contents out into the street, right in front of the University PoPo.  Yes, you will have to empty the contents.  Seen it way too many times already.

10.  Where in the hell is Elvis?????  Last year somebody hired him for every game.  This year, nothing.  Rumor has it that he works at the Oxford Walmart as his day job.  Somebody, hire him!